My UK Year List - 2014

  • 117-118) GREAT WHITE EGRET and LONG-TAILED DUCKS at Mary's Lake, Earls Barton GP, 9 January
  • 116) Barnacle Goose, Emberton Park, 9 January
  • 114-115) SMEW and Cetti's Warbler at Great Hardmead Lake, Amwell, 7 January
  • 113) Reed Bunting, Tyttenhanger, 7 January
  • 112) Tree Sparrow (32 birds), Tyttenhanger, 7 January
  • 111) Sparrowhawk, West Hyde, 7 January
  • 110) Mandarin Duck, Burnham Beeches NNR, 7 January
  • 100-109) Curlew, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Common Shelduck, Kittiwake and Mediterranean Gull at Church Norton, 6 January
  • 99) RUDDY SHELDUCK, Sidlesham Ferry, 6 January
  • 96-98) Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone and Rock Pipit in Shoreham Harbour
  • 95) Red-breasted Merganser, Widewater, 6 January
  • 94) GREY PHALAROPE, Hove Lagoon, 6 January
  • 93) Grey Partridge, Broom, 5 January
  • 92) Goosander, Woburn Lakes, 5 January
  • 91) Skylark, Totternhoe, 5 January
  • 90) Yellowhammer, Totternhoe, 5 January
  • 89) Corn Bunting, Totternhoe, 5 January
  • 88) Water Pipit, Wilstone, 5 January
  • 87) SABINE'S GULL, Weston Turville, 5 January
  • 86) Common Scoter, Brogborough, 4 January
  • 85) GREAT NORTHERN DIVER, Stewartby Lake, 4 January
  • 84) Red-legged Partridge, Hatch, 4 January
  • 83) Common Kestrel, Langford, 4 January
  • 82) GLOSSY IBIS, Frensham, 4 January
  • 81) Goldcrest, Frensham, 4 January
  • 80) Green Sandpiper, Lynsters, 3 January
  • 79) Stock Dove, Lynster's, 3 January
  • 78) Egyptian Goose, Lynsters Farm, 3 January
  • 77) Common Chiffchaff, Stockers Lake
  • 76) SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF, Stockers Lake
  • 75) Siskin, Stockers Lake
  • 74) Dunnock, Stockers Lake
  • 73) Ring-necked Parakeet, Stockers Lake
  • 72) Lesser Redpoll, Stockers Lake
  • 71) Coal Tit, Chaffinch House
  • 40-70: Nuthatch, Greylag Goose, Pied Wagtail, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Common Redshank, Common Snipe, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, LITTLE STINT, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Wagtail, Goldeneye, Meadow Pipit, Greenfinch, Marsh Tit, Dunnock, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Bullfinch, Jay, Red-crested Pochard, Wren, Collared Dove (all at Tring Reservoirs), Brambling (Ivinghoe), Herring & Great Black-backed Gull, CATTLE EGRET (Briarhill Farm, Calvert) & Green Woodpecker
  • 1-39 all local, Chess River Valley & Shardeloes Estate: 1 January 2014: Chaffinch, Common Starling, Woodpigeon, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Common Magpie, Mute Swan, Mallard, Moorhen, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Common Buzzard, Canada Goose, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Pochard, House Sparrow, Common Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Pheasant, Gadwall, Kingfisher, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Little Grebe, Common Gull, Red Kite, Redwing, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Goldfinch, Mistle Thrush, WOODCOCK, Treecreeper, Greenfinch and Water Rail

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Year Listing in the UK

Lee Evans has been Year-listing in the UK since 1977 and has achieved annual totals of over 300 species ever since. Although he has recorded in excess of 360 species on some nine occasions, his record stands at 386 species - achieved in 1996. Adrian Webb in Year 2000 recorded at least 378 species, making him by far the highest-listing individual to compare with Lee. In terms of Life Listing, Lee has recorded 577 species in Britain and Ireland and 853 species in the wider Western Palearctic region.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Despite the appalling weather, another productive day

Bird of the day - a splendid male YELLOW WAGTAIL (Mike Lawrence). The Year List has now grown to 235 species


Talk about a topsy-turvy day in terms of weather. When I first started birding mid morning, the wind was in the west and the temperature was 9.5 degrees C. It was raining intermittently and activity was rather scant. Around lunchtime/early afternoon however, the wind switched to the SSW, the sun came out and temperatures recovered to 13.5 degrees C. Then, darkening clouds brought heavier rain, and between 1500 and 1900 hours, the temperature plummeted to a freezing 5 degrees C and the wind veered to a strong NNW.

Despite the conditions, I had a great day locally, with some nice finds and new additions - particularly Yellow Wagtail and House Martin - both firsts for the year.


I did a full inventory of the lower Chesham area, walking the trail from Watercress Cottage (SU 975 999), past the former Pow Wow Lake (SP 972 003), around the Chesham Fishing Lakes (SP 972 003), across to Hill Farm (SP 973 008) and back down to Milk Hall (SP 976 002).

GREAT CRESTED GREBES (both pairs present, the pair on the smaller lake now nesting)
CONTINENTAL CORMORANT (a near adult circled the fishing lakes)
Little Egret (none seen, looks as if the wintering population has now departed)
Mute Swan (single adult on Pow Wow Lake, the Waterside pair now deserted after heavy rain, a pair on Bois Mill Lake - not nesting - and three others east to Latimer Bridge)
Atlantic Canada Geese (pair on Pow Wow Lake, with 24 on Bois Mill Pond)
Mallard (5 drakes on the river, with 14 on the Fishing Lakes)
GADWALL (pair still present on Pow Wow Lake)
Tufted Duck (drake on Pow Wow Lake, with 16 - 9 drakes and 7 females - on the Fishing Lake)
Red Kite (3 in Hill Farm area)
Common Buzzard (nest found in Chessmount - SP 974 006)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (female circling overhead of the valley)
Common Pheasant (2 males near Hill Farm)
Moorhen (9 birds in total)
Coot (9 on the larger of the two Fishing Lakes, one with an injured left leg, with 6 on the smaller)
Woodpigeon (large feeding flocks in the Hill Farm area, one of 45 and the other of 322)
Eurasian Collared Dove (pair at Hill Farm)
*SAND MARTIN (1 high over the Fishing Lakes, the first in the Recording Area this year)
*EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOW (pair hawking high above the Alders and Poplars by the Fishing Lake and a 'singing' male around the larger barn by Hill Farm - the first in the Recording Area this year)
Pied Wagtail (an adult male by the Pow Wow building)
Wren (2 singing males by Watercress Cottage, with another by the Fishing Lakes and 1 by Hill Farm)
Dunnock (pair displaying by Watercress Cottage, with two further singing males nearby, and further males in scrub by Cannon Mill Avenue and Hill Farm)
European Robin (just 1 singing male by the Fishing Lakes)
Song Thrush (1 in garden of cottage at corner of Holloway Lane)
Mistle Thrush (pair nesting in Chessmount Wood)
Common Blackbird (male by Watercress Cottage, with another in gardens on Cannon Mill Avenue)
*BLACKCAP (a singing male showing well by the smaller Fishing Lake, present in the area for over two weeks)
*COMMON CHIFFCHAFF (a marked arrival with two singing males within 40 yards of each other in scrub behind McMinn's Yard and a further male present along the Riverside Walk just beyond the Fishing Lakes)
GOLDCREST (a pair present in the tall evergreen in the garden of 85 Latimer Road, the male singing frequently)
Great Tit (singing males by Watercress Cottage, the Fishing Lakes and the Riverside Walk and 2 at the feeders by Milk Hall)
Blue Tit (singing males by McMinn's Yard and Fishing Lakes with 7 at the feeders by Milk Hall)
Long-tailed Tit (pair along the Riverside Walk)
Common Magpie (pair nesting in the tall Evergreen in garden of 85 Latimer Road)
Western Jackdaw (nesting colony in terrace chimneys opposite Fishing Lakes involving 13 pairs, with a further pair on the chimney stack of Watercress Cottage)
Rook (the Rookery above Ivy House Farm now has 21 active nests)
Carrion Crow (1 by Hill Farm)
Common Starling (1 on chimneys in Latimer Road)
House Sparrow (2 pairs in scrub behind Cannon Mill Avenue)
Chaffinch (5 singing males/pairs in the Fishing Lakes/Riverside Walk area, with another by Hill Farm)
LINNET (2 birds flew over the barns at Hill Farm)
Goldfinch (5 birds noted)
Greenfinch (displaying male in gardens along Latimer Road)
YELLOWHAMMER (2 singing males in hedgerows by Hill Farm)

BADGERS (the sett along the bridleway near Hill Farm was active)
MUNTJAC (a stag was feeding by Watercress Cottage)

(1200-1338 hours)

By the time I had got to Tyttenhanger, the wind had freshened from the SSW and the sun had started to peep its way through the clouds. The temperature started nudging 13.5 degrees C and it became quite pleasant.

Steve Blake had earlier discovered a LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (a Herts Year tick for me and only the second occurrence this year) on the main pit which I was keen to see. I 'scoped across to the mud and located 8 COMMON REDSHANKS and 7 COMMON SNIPE and then a 'ringed plover'. The latter was clearly a RINGED PLOVER so I phoned Steve to query his sighting. He was adamant, so we agreed to meet up at the opposite side. A single COMMON SHELDUCK was also present on the pit.

Making a rendezvous with SB by the conveyor belt, he pointed out the plover that he had found and it was a different bird to that at the opposite end of the sandy spit and a fine adult LITTLE RINGED PLOVER - my first of the year in Herts (120). A party of 8 EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOWS also passed through.

We then went back to WILLOWS FARM POOL (1240 hours), where the female Ruddy Shelduck, a pair of OYSTERCATCHER, a pair of Common Redshank and 2 adult male Pied Wagtails were present. Feeding along the left hand flank were a stonking male YELLOW WAGTAIL (234/121) and a first-summer male WHITE WAGTAIL (122). The latter was soon chased off by one of the male Pied Wagtails.

Returning to the site much later (at 1520), the OYSTERCATCHER pair were still present, along with a pair of Common Shelduck, pair of Gadwall and pair of Shoveler.

Following up on further information of Steve's, I was highly delighted to connect with my first NORTHERN WHEATEAR of the Herts year - a female - perching on the fragments of maize left over in the field behind Tyttenhanger Farm (123). The flattened maize field behind the feeding station hedgerow also yielded 15 Yellowhammers, 12 Reed Buntings and at least 3 TREE SPARROWS.

(Best accessed from Abbey Mill Lane car park)


The main reason I visited this site today was to enjoy and study the drake NORTH AMERICAN RUDDY DUCK that had been present here for the past three weeks or more, perhaps one of the last opportunities to see this enigmatic and charming species in the county following the murderous government campaign to try and eradicate it. The bird was showing exceptionally well and I took the opportunity to show many of the general public the wonders of it. Ironically, it was showing best from just yards in front of the RSPB sponsored information caravan (sadly not being manned today).

I also took the opportunity to do a full inventory of the site with the following results -:

Grey Heron (10 active nests on the main island)
Mute Swan (17 in all, including 11 first-summers and an adult pair on the Model Boating Lake)
Mallard-types (96 in all)
NORTHERN SHOVELER (pair roosting on the smaller island)
Tufted Duck (8)
Coot (96 on the main pond and a further 8 on the neighbouring River Ver - two nests within 20 yards of each other on the Ver, another on the Model Boating lake, 2 on the smaller island and another on the main island)
Moorhen (11)
Black-headed Gull (adult and two first-summers)
Feral Pigeon (25)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (drumming male)
Nuthatch (calling male)
COMMON CHIFFCHAFF (singing male in trees near church)
Mistle Thrush (singing male)
Coal Tit (singing male by lake)
Wren (singing male)


Depressingly, three dead BADGERS within half a mile of each other on the eastbound carriageway of the A414, all SW of Cole Green and east of the roundabout - presumably all related to the Tewinbury population.


There was no sign of Saturday's non-naturalised Barnacle Goose with the Atlantic Canada Geese but a pair of Great Crested Grebes were busy nest-building on the island, 3 Shoveler were present, 13 Tufted Duck and 8 Coots.


My visit here frustratingly coincided with persistent rain and some blustery winds so no sign of Simon Knott's early singing Sedge Warbler - the only individual in the county so far. The only migrants present were 2 EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOWS, a SAND MARTIN and a singing male COMMON CHIFFCHAFF in scrub by the entrance gate.

Wildfowl included two lingering EURASIAN WIGEON (a pair), 22 Gadwall, 3 Shoveler and 5 Northern Pochard, with a pair of adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls on posts and the marshes NW of the flyover yielding 5+ Lapwings, two pairs of Common Redshank and 2 Common Snipes.

(1730 until dusk)

I was to spend the rest of the day at Little Marlow, where I could not believe the change in temperature. Whilst driving from Herts to South Bucks, the wind had switched from SSW to NNW and the temperature had plummeted from 13.5 to a mere 5 degrees C - an astounding fluctuation in one day.

The overcast conditions and intermittent rain had grounded 33 hirundines, including 23 EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOWS, 7 SAND MARTINS and 3 HOUSE MARTINS - the latter my first of the year and the first in the county (235).

However, it was to the migrant gull flock that most concentration was asked for, and with Alan Stevens, we located FOUR different MEDITERRANEAN GULLS in the roost this evening, one of the largest single groups I have ever recorded in Bucks. The records involved two full breeding-plumaged adults and two near-identical second-summer birds, the latter with orange-red bills and a slight dark bar, dark pigmentation in the primary tips and full black hoods and contrasting white eye crescents. The first immature flew in at 1830 hours, followed seconds later by the first adult, then a second immature at 1835 and the final adult at 1856. All remained until dusk, after initially bathing and drinking on arrival, and disappeared out of view in the Common Gull throng.

Click-counting COMMON GULLS revealed the presence of at least 898 birds, with 6 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 15 Argenteus Herring Gulls, predominantly immatures.

Otherwise, species noted included the pair of COMMON SHELDUCK, 22 remaining Eurasian Wigeon, a pair of Common Teal, a drake Shoveler, 2 LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS, 5 Lapwing and 1-2 COMMON KINGFISHERS (constantly flying to and fro from the main island where they are nesting)

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